Ultimate Guide To Martial Arts in London

There are many different styles of martial arts in London. Each martial art has developed over centuries and utilises different techniques.

There are loads of benefits of training martial arts including; weight loss, improved mental health and learning self-defence.

In this guide, we discuss the different martial arts in London, and the factors you should consider when choosing a martial arts gym.


Do you want to win your next fight, transform your body & unleash your potential as a martial artist?

We work exclusively with combat athletes to improve their performance, optimize their recovery time, and reduce stress during training.

fighters strength promo

BJJ – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

martial arts in london

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport based on submission holds and grappling. The aim of BJJ is to submit your opponent by taking them to the ground, control them in and dominant position and then use chokes and joint hold to submit them.

BJJ revolves around the theory that a smaller, weaker person can defend themselves against an untrained bigger and stronger opponent by using leverage to control them.

BJJ was developed in the 1920s by the Gracie family, and was influenced by traditional Japanese Judo.

There are lots of benefits of training BJJ including; self-defence, weight loss and improved mental health.

London is home to dozens of BJJ gyms that offer classes for people of all ages and experience levels.

Check out our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu In London Guide.

MMA – Mixed Martial Arts

martial arts in london

MMA is one of the most popular martial arts in London.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a hybrid combat sport that incorporates techniques from several martial arts including; MMA, BJJ, Boxing, Muay Thai and Wrestling.

MMA dates back to ancient Greece, when the sport of Pankration was contested in the Olympics. Pankration combined Boxing, Wrestling and Street Fighting. Pankration was brutal, with the only recognised rules being no biting or gouging.

The popularity of modern MMA exploded due to the UFC. The original aim of the UFC in 1993 was to pit fighters from different martial arts against each other. These days MMA fighters have more of a hybrid style combining multiple martial arts.

MMA is currently the fastest growing sport globally, and is set to overtake boxing in terms of popularity.

There are loads of benefits of training MMA including; weight loss, improved confidence and problem-solving skills.

After the explosion in the popularity of MMA, there are plenty of gyms to choose from in London.

Check out our MMA in London guide.


judo martial arts in london

Judo is a Japanese martial art and combat sport that originated from traditional Jiu-Jitsu. The martial art was created by Jigoro Kanoin in 1882.

The aim of Judo is to either take down or throw your opponent to the ground then pin or submit your opponent with a joint lock or choke.

Judo is an Olympic sport. The sport made its first appearance in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

There are tons of benefits of training Judo including; weight loss, improved mental health and self-defence.

If you’re looking to learn a martial art in London, you should consider learning Judo. The Budokwai is one of the most established Judo clubs in the UK.


martial art in london

Boxing is a martial art and combat sport in which two people, throw punches at each other for a number of rounds in a boxing ring. Boxers are matched using weigh divisions for both safety and fairness.

Boxing has been around for centuries, with the earliest known depiction of boxing dating back over 5000 years. Today, boxing is a billion-dollar industry, with box-office events attracting millions of people.

In recent years, Boxing has exploded in popularity. In London both competitive and fitness gyms offering Boxing classes.

Training Boxing has loads of benefits including; improved strength & conditioning, weight loss and problem-solving.

Boxing is still the most popular martial art in London.

There are hundreds of Boxing gyms in London that cater to both recreational and competitive boxers.

For more information on Boxing classes in London, check out our Boxing in London Guide.

Muay Thai

martial arts in london

Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is known as the art of eight limbs. Thai Boxing is similar to kickboxing, with the addition of elbows, knees and clinching techniques.

The history of Thai Boxing dates back to the 16th century as a peacetime martial art studied by soldiers. Modern Muay Thai was established in the early 20th century when King Rama VII introduced rules for muay.

To this day, Bangkok remains the home of Muay Thai.

There are dozens of Muay Thai gyms in London that cater to both recreational and competative Muay Thai fighters.

Muay Thai has lots of benefits including; self-defence, weight loss and improved mental health.

For more information on Muay Thai in London, check out our Muay Thai in London Guide.


wrestling martial arts in london

Wrestling is one of the earliest depicted forms of combat sport. The first depictions of Wrestling were found in caves dating back 15000 years.

Wrestling involves grappling techniques such as throws, trips, takedowns and clinch fighting.

There are several different wrestling rulesets including Catch Wrestling, Grecco-Roman Wrestling and Freestyle Wrestling.

There are loads of benefits to training Wrestling including; mental toughness, self-defence and improved health & fitness.

Lots of MMA gyms in London offer Wrestling classes. If you’re looking for a British Wrestling associated club, check out this link.


karate martial arts in london

Karate is a striking martial art that utilizes both kicking and punching techniques. The martial art was formed in Okinawa in the 17th century after evolving in East Asia over hundreds of years.

Karates popularity exploded in the 1960s due to an influx in martial arts movies.

Karate dojos began appearing across the world, and catered to both recreational students and serious martial artists.

Benefits of training Karate include; improved fitness, weight loss and self-defence skills.

London is home to several Karate gyms that offer classes for people of all experience levels and ages.

To this day, Karate remains one of the most popular martial arts in London.

Martial Arts In London FAQ

Training martial arts for the first time can be daunting.

To help, we have put together a list of common FAQ’s on training martial arts in London.

How To Pick A Martial Arts Gym In London

When picking a martial arts gym in London, there are several factors you should consider.

Location – When picking a martial arts gym in London, you should consider the location.

Factors you should consider:

  • Journey Time
  • Cost to get to training
  • Distance from your home

For your martial arts training to be consistent, you should choose a gym that is within a reasonable commute from your home.

Your experience level – You should join a martial arts gym that matches your experience level. If you are new to martial arts training, you should join a gym that offers beginners classes.

Instruction – Before joining a martial arts gym you should consider the instruction on offer. Each instructor has a different skill set and style of teaching martial arts.

Gym Facilities – When choosing a gym to train martial arts in London, you should consider the facilities. Some gyms are luxury and offer premium facilities, whilst others have more of a basic feel.

What Equipment Do I Need To Start Martial Arts?

The equipment you should buy will vary depending on the martial art you’re training.

Some fundamental pieces of equipment every martial artist should own include:

What Is The Best Martial Art To Learn In London?

When it comes to choosing a martial art in London, it comes down to personal preference.

Some people prefer a grappling style, whilst others prefer martial arts that involve striking.

What Martial Arts in London Offer Children’s Classes?

All of the martial arts featured in this guide will have classes suitable for children.

When it comes to choosing a martial art for your child, it comes down to personal preference.

We recommend reaching out to martial arts gyms in London and asking about their children’s classes.

How Do I know What’s A Reputable Martial Arts Gym In London?

You want to make sure you are not joining a McDojo.

“A martial arts school established to make money instead of genuinely teaching martial arts.”

You should always check the reviews online and ask on martial arts forums.

Most martial arts gyms in London will offer a trial class, so you can try before you sign a contract.

Our Favourite MMA Gloves

RDX is one of the fastest-growing MMA equipment brands in the world. RDX MMA gloves are high-quality, durable, and offer premium protection!

rdx mma gloves


With hundreds of martial arts on offer in London, there are plenty of gyms to choose from.

There are loads of benefits of training martial arts in London including; improved mental health, weight loss and learning self-defence.

If you enjoyed our martial arts in London guide, hit the button below to share.

Photo of author

Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
FS Banner